Friday, June 19, 2015

Cleveland Federal Reserve Policy Summit on Housing, Human Capital & Inequality

Over the last few days I had the opportunity to attend the Cleveland Federal Reserve's conference on Housing, Human Capital and Inequality held in Pittsburgh.  (See bottom of article for a list of folks that joined me from Cleveland and Ohio.)

The conference was a very timely opportunity to meet and share information with people from all over the country, but particularly from Ohio and Pennsylvania - to discuss community and economic development. 

Timely, because the focus of the conference was centered on topics we are focusing on in Ward 14 Cleveland.  They included integrating a health and wellness initiative into our overall community and economic development strategies, and partnering with the Environmental Health Watch and MetroHealth and other organizations carryout the Engaging the Community in New Approaches to Healthy Housing" project.

Other topics included how communities can benefit from the new Federal Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (job training), and economic development through broadband technology investments like our W25 BIG Gig Project.

The Opening Plenary session featured Mayor Bill Peduto, Pittsburgh and former Mayor of Cleveland Jane Campbell, Director, National Development Council.

Thursday’s sessions brought together two important issues; Health, Wellness and Community Development and the new Federal Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act.

The first session there was about connecting environmental issues to community health.  The session was especially relevant to Cleveland and our near westside communities, as a collaborative initiative called "Engaging the Community in New Approaches to Healthy Housing".


The last session Thursday featured Cleveland/Cuyahoga County’s own Grace A. Kilbane, Exec Dir, CLE/CUY Workforce Investment Board and other experts working on workforce issues.  The session gave an overview of the new Federal Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act


Friday morning kicked-off with a PechaKucha formatted presentation of seven organizations helping to redevelop and redefine Pittsburgh.

  • ACTION-Housing - empowers people to build more secure and self-sufficient lives through the provision of decent, affordable housing, essential supportive services, asset building programs, and educational and employment opportunities.
  • Bike Pittsburgh - transforming Pittsburgh streets and communities into vibrant, healthy places by making them safe and accessible for everyone to bike and walk.
  • The Union Project - arose as an idea by a group of young Pittsburghers to create a neighborhood space where people could come together to connect, create, and celebrate (for fellowship, creativity, community, learning, and more). 
  • Allegheny Conference on Community Development - the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, the Pennsylvania Economy League of Greater Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance (PRA) – work together to improve the economy and the quality of life in southwestern Pennsylvania.
  • Hill Community Development Corporation - works in partnership with residents and stakeholders to create, promote, and implement strategies and programs that connect plans, policies and people to drive compelling community development opportunities in the Greater Hill District.
  • cityLAB - a nonprofit that performs experiments with the city as our labo­ratory. Experiments are chosen to seed economic development, generate buzz, and effect positive change in the city, from inside and out.
  • Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership - Formed by Downtown businesses, professionals, civic organizations, foundations, and residents, the PDP develops and implements innovative programs and initiatives to enhance the Downtown neighborhood. 
Friday’s first session focused the importance of broadband technology as a critical component of Cities’ new infrastructure. Topics covered, technology equity (digital-divide), advanced use of the technology in education, social innovation and business development and the internet of things.


The last session before the Closing Keynote address focused on innovated approaches to community and economic development occurring in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

  • Economic Development South - a unique multi-municipal, corridor-based community development corporation that encompasses a significant portion of the South Pittsburgh/South Hills region of Allegheny County. 
  • 100 Resilient Cities - Pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation (100RC) is dedicated to helping cities around the world become more resilient to the physical, social and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century.
  • Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations - a citywide membership association of CDCs and affiliate organizations dedicated to advocacy, policy development and technical assistance for community development corporations and other organizations in their efforts to rebuild communities and revitalize neighborhoods. 

Folks joining me in representing Cleveland and Ohio at the conference included our very own Donna Nolen Brooks (Stockyard neighborhood, along with a bunch of others from the CLE Federal Reserve - conference host, including Mary Helen Petrus); Camille Billups (Cleveland Plus); Stephanie Cameron (Citizens Bank); John Corlett (The Center for Community Solutions); Lee Fields & Chalana Williams (First Federal Lakewood); Maura Harris (Ohio Community Development Corp. Assoc.); Kathryn Hexter (Center for Community Planning & Development, CSU); Holly Holtzen (Ohio Housing Finance Authority); Steven Kanner (CSU); Grace Kilbane (Cleveland/Cuyahoga County WIB); Emily Lungard (Enterprise Community Partners); Kevin McDaniel (United Way of Greater Cleveland); Dave Megenhardt (United Labor Agency); Vincent Papsidero (City of Columbus); Emma Petrie Barcelona (EDEN Inc.); Francisca Richter (Case Western Reserve University); David Rothenstein (Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland); James Russell (Center for Population Dynamics of CSU); Molly Schnoke (CSU); Angela Shucjahose (Cleveland Tenants Organization); Kent Smith (District 8, Ohio House of Representatives); Brittany Zaehringer (GAR Foundation, Akron).

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